Why the Heck Are People Thumping Their Chests on the Bus?

Don’t Just Laugh. Put Down Your Phone, Check Out My Videos, and Use Your Commuting Time Wisely.

Whenever I am swinging my arms—a simple warm-up exercise as part of the practice of qigong, which cultivates energy by aligning mind, breath, and body—I imagine that I look like a repenting soul performing self-flagellation to random passersby.

I’ve mused for a long time about creating an urban opera involving scenes of bus riders spontaneously starting to hurl their arms in the air and beat their chests at stops. Living in Tokyo almost 20 years ago, where I spent countless hours on the train, helped me imagine alternate scenarios for my …